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CBC says Olympic security issues bigger than broadcast plans in Games loom

10/30/2013 04:38 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
TORONTO - Security issues are big for CBC bosses preparing for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

While the network's broadcast plans are set, programming chief Trevor Pilling said he frets about unforeseen threats and is putting "a great deal of faith" in local organizers.

"We're in the business of planning and preparing and planning for the unknown and in terms of things that concern me — coverage, competition, those don't concern me. It's what may happen outside of the Olympic fence," said Pilling.

"If there's anyone who tries to disrupt the Games, (we're) wanting to make sure that our people are safe, make sure that we're in a position to cover those stories properly. But really, because I feel very confident in our plan and all the work that our people have done, we're in a really good position to cover these Games."

The comments came as the public broadcaster announced its broadcast team at a staged event at CBC headquarters in front of hundreds of staff, reporters and members of the public.

Daily coverage will begin with Diana Swain of "The National" and "Hockey Night in Canada"'s David Amber from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m ET. Veteran sports anchor Scott Russell takes over from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"Hockey Night in Canada" host Ron MacLean leads primetime coverage from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. across Canada outside of Alberta (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and British Columbia (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) while Andi Petrillo from "Hockey Night in Canada" teams with CBC News Montreal's Andrew Chang to host the overnight show from midnight to 6 a.m. ET (9 p.m. to 3 a.m. PT).

Play-by-play analysis will come from several former Olympians, including two-time Olympic medallist Jennifer Heil, who will offer her insights on freestyle mogul events, figure skater Kurt Browning as a figure skating commentator and 1992 Olympic downhill champion Kerrin Lee-Gartner as an alpine events expert.

Other CBC personalities heading to Sochi include Peter Mansbridge with his flagship evening newscast "The National," Jian Ghomeshi with his CBC Radio show "Q" and "Hockey Night in Canada" commentator Don Cherry who will bring his "Coach's Corner" segment to men's ice hockey.

Mansbridge and MacLean will co-host the opening ceremony on Feb. 7 from Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

Broadcast partners TSN, TSN2, TSN Radio, Sportsnet and Sportsnet One round out the coverage. Programming details will be made available closer to the start of the Sochi Games, which will introduce 12 new events.

The newly redesigned website cbc.ca/olympics officially launched Wednesday, offering news, notes, results and analysis from pre-Olympic competitions around the world.

CBC said that during the Games, the site will offer live streaming, adding to comprehensive coverage that includes radio, tablets and mobile devices.

While in Russia, Pilling said CBC is putting "a great deal of faith" in the local organizing committee to protect visiting broadcasters.

"Beyond that really it's just: What can we do that's proper smart planning? If cellphones were to go out what are the steps you would take to get everyone connected and co-ordinated and rallied?" he said.

"And those are the same types of steps quite frankly we put into place around Beijing and Torino, it's just amped up perhaps a little bit (more) than in the past."

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games kick off Feb. 7, 2014.

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